This week I took a look at the pattern “Reading List”. According to this pattern, you should keep a list of books that you intend to read. By making a list of the books you have read and the are going to read, you give yourself an easy way to reflect on your own patterns of studying. As you read you will probably come across more books in the references or bibliography sections. You can add those books to your list as well. Your reading list should also be somewhere online and publicly available. Others may benefit from it or you may benefit from their suggestions.
Despite always being assigned at least one book for every CS course I have taken, I have never (at least until now) considered really using a book to learn about programming or computer science. It seems like a no-brainer to use the internet for anything computer related. Modern search engines allow you to ask extremely specific questions and get almost exactly what you are looking for. Maybe this is because as a student I always know what I need to learn.
As the author points out, it is hard to know where you need to go next or what you need to learn next. I am a student, so I always have a professor who provides a curriculum to follow and assignments to complete. I always know what I need to learn. This is all going to change now because I am graduating in a few weeks. I will have to take the initiative to set my own course of study if I want to improve as a programmer. Without any direction I should probably turn to books.
It is probably time I start reading more books about software development, especially if that is the field I am going to go into. Reading the “Apprenticeship Patterns” book has made me realize books do have a lot to offer aspiring programmers. They are a good way of forcing material in front of you. Because books are restricted by their physical form, authors have to put a lot of material in the book to make it worthwhile. You don’t have to figure out what to learn next; books are carefully curated sections of study, at least textbooks are. It’s about time I start my own reading list too, starting with all the books I neglected to read in the past few years.